Smart outdoor lights can be useful throughout the backyard or garden, with choices to light up pathways, improve security, brighten up hangout areas, or add accent lighting. Smart options are now plentiful and come in almost every outdoor lighting type, from practical path lights and security lights to decorative string lights and LED light strips.
Since they can connect to a smartphone, these lights offer ultimate control and make it possible to take advantage of a range of features, without even needing to step outside. You can switch lights on and off; adjust brightness, tone, or color; set schedules and timers; control groups of lights; and more—all remotely. The best smart outdoor lights have many of these features and then some; they’re practical, look nice, and are simple to control. Read on for the best smart outdoor lights to brighten outdoor spaces.
- BEST OVERALL: Philips Hue Calla Outdoor Bollard
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Geeni LUX Smart LED Floodlight
- BEST PATH LIGHT: Ring Solar Pathlight
- BEST STRING LIGHTS: Govee RGBIC Warm White Smart Outdoor String Lights
- BEST WALL-MOUNTED: Philips Econic Outdoor Wall Light
- BEST FOR SECURITY: Ring Spotlight 2-Pack Plus Bridge
- BEST FOR DECORATION: Govee Wi-Fi RGBIC Outdoor Strip Lights
- BEST OUTDOOR SMART BULB: GE Cync Full Color Direct Connect Outdoor Smart Bulb
How We Chose the Best Smart Outdoor Lights
The best smart outdoor lights are practical, reliable, safe, and come with a range of extra features for convenience. We evaluated product specifications as well as third-party and shopper reviews to choose the top picks on our list. To then select the best of the best, we dove deep into each product’s ease of use, connection reliability and app experience, and control features. We picked lights that are easy to set up and control, with a range of customizable features to justify the extra cost of their smart capabilities—since, yes, smart lights do cost more than their analog counterparts.
We stuck to reputable brands, partly for the usual reasons, which is that they provide reliable products and good customer service. However, when it comes to smart devices that connect to the web, a reputable brand is even more important to ensure that the device is secure. The brands in our lineup are tops in this field for a reason: They create great, safe products.
Our Top Picks
Convenience and ease of control are two of the main benefits that the top smart outdoor lights offer. Illuminate outdoor spaces with the reliable and feature-filled smart outdoor lights ahead.
Use the Philips Hue Calla as pathway lighting, to outline a seating area, or to brighten up a garden. This outdoor smart light is just plain pretty, with a sleek and attractive design. It provides buyers the option to play with light brightness, temperature, and color. Using the Hue app, choose from 16 million different colors or any shade of white, and play with color scenes and effects. This light is one of the best low-voltage landscape lighting options since it’s weatherproof (suitable for use in wet locations) and easy to set up and extend.
Like other Hue outdoor lights, the Calla Outdoor Bollard requires a Hue Bridge (sold separately) to take advantage of smart features like controlling light brightness, color, timers, alarms, and notifications, among others. The Bridge makes it possible to control the light from a smartphone or tablet, or to connect to Philips Hue indoor switches. This light is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant for voice controls.
- Power source: Power cord
- Brightness: 590 lumens
- Hub required: Yes
- Virtually endless variations to set the mood, with 16 million color options (including all shades of white)
- Very simple to set up, extend, and connect to other Hue lighting
- Attractive and durable design—weatherproof and suitable for wet locations
- Some users report yellowing of the light cover over time
Get the Philips Hue outdoor lights at Walmart or Philips (extension).
Outdoor smart lights needn’t be expensive. In fact, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to add smart outdoor lighting is just to switch out a standard lightbulb to a smart outdoor bulb. This smart floodlight pair from Geeni is an affordable pick, with two weatherproof PAR38 E26 LED bulbs. The bulbs put off a white light that is both tunable (temperature adjustable) and dimmable, offering 1000 lumens at its brightest.
The floodlights can connect to Wi-Fi directly (2.4GHz networks only) so they don’t need a hub, plus they’re also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana. You can control the light brightness, temperature, and schedules using the Geeni app. Lights can also be grouped or individually controlled.
- Power source: Light socket
- Brightness: 1,000 lumens
- Hub required: No
- Very easy to set up with no hub required; just twist it into the light socket
- 1,000 lumens at brightest setting; suitable for security lighting
- Lights can be controlled individually or as a group
- Only compatible with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks
- Available in white light only—no color options
Get the Geeni smart outdoor lights at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, or Geeni.
Smart, motion detecting, and solar-powered, the Ring Solar Pathlight is designed for ease of use. Since this pathway light runs on solar power and not electricity, there’s no need to deal with wiring, which can be a hassle around walkways and driveways. The weather-resistant light shines up to 80 lumens of light, which is bright enough to gently light up a path. To help with safety and security, the light is motion activated (and you can even ask it to send alerts to a smartphone when the light senses motion).
A Ring Bridge is required to take advantage of smart features (otherwise, it’s simply a standard motion-sensing solar path light). Connecting to the bridge gives you the option to control the lights, adjust the brightness, set schedules, and change motion sensitivity, as well as sync with other Ring Smart Lights to create a smart lighting system. This light can also sync with some Ring doorbells and cameras to improve home security, not to mention it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa.
- Power source: Solar
- Brightness: 80 lumens
- Hub required: Yes
- Runs on solar power, making installation and placement easy
- Customizable motion-sensing feature with the option to receive motion alerts
- Can be synced with compatible Ring doorbells, cameras, and smart lights
- Requires direct sunlight to recharge effectively
Get the Ring solar outdoor lights at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Abt, or Ring.
When it comes to improving the ambience of just about any outdoor space, string lights are an easy, attractive solution. And these 48-foot smart outdoor string lights from Govee are an upgrade from standard offerings, for holiday decorating or simply setting the mood year-round.
For ease of setup, this smart light has Wi-Fi built in, so there’s no need for a hub. In fact, if the Wi-Fi is down, you can connect via Bluetooth as well. Plus, this light is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls. Once connected, you can change the light color and brightness, set schedules and timers, and choose from 40 scene modes. Lastly, for peace of mind and longevity, the lights are weatherproof and shatterproof.
- Power source: Power cord
- Brightness: 50 lumens
- Hub required: No
- Excellent for holiday decorating, with customizable colors and 40 fun scene modes
- Smart and hassle-free—both WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled (no hub required)
- Ideal for outdoors; the string lights are durable, weatherproof, and shatterproof
- Some users feel the lights are spaced too far apart (15 bulbs on 48 feet)
Get the Govee warm white smart outdoor lights at Amazon or Govee.
Looking for a fixed outdoor light fixture? The Philips Econic outdoor wall light is a stylish, weatherproof choice for a front porch or beside an exterior door. It can be mounted to the wall or ceiling and it’s hardwired, emitting up to 1140 lumens of light. Besides its contemporary look, it also has a range of smart features for convenience.
Like other Philips Hue products, this one requires a Philips Bridge. Once connected, it gives users control over all the smart controls, including light color (with 16 million color options, as well as all shades of white), brightness, temperature, and timer and schedule settings. This light is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Assistant.
- Power source: Hardwired
- Brightness: 1140 lumens
- Hub required: Yes
- Simple but contemporary design likely to suit many home exteriors
- A flexible option that can be mounted to the wall or ceiling
- High-quality build; made of aluminum and tempered glass
Get the Philips Econic smart outdoor lights at Amazon, The Home Depot, Best Buy, or Philips.
Small but mighty, the Ring spotlight is an easy-to-install pick to boost home security. It’s weather-resistant and battery-powered (requiring four D-cell batteries each, which are not included), which opens up a world of options in terms of placement. The spotlight can be placed near garages, porches, sheds, and even trees to bring security lighting where wires can’t reach.
This set includes two spotlights and a Ring Bridge, which is necessary to use the smart features. Each light emits 400 lumens, so while it’s not a floodlight, it’s definitely enough light to view outside intruders. The lights are motion sensitive and can be set to send a motion notification for added security. Like other Ring smart lights, these spotlights can be synced with compatible Ring doorbells, cameras, and smart lights, making them easy to integrate into a security system. As with other Ring smart products, this one is compatible with Amazon Alexa.
- Power source: Batteries
- Brightness: 400 lumens
- Hub required: Yes
- Battery-powered lights are easy and flexible to install
- Can connect with Ring doorbells and cameras as part of a home security system
- Can send motion-detection notifications to improve home security
- Can run through batteries quickly, especially if placed a high-traffic area
Get the Ring spotlight smart outdoor lights at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Ring, or Best Buy (spotlight only).
Strip lights are a fun way to add subtle lighting and color to an outdoor space, and a smart version adds even more flexibility when it comes to control. The Govee Wi-Fi RGBIC outdoor strip lights are a user-friendly choice for year-round decoration. This strand provides 32.8 feet of colorful lighting. Wi-Fi is built in, so it can connect directly to a smartphone, and it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Plug these water-resistant strip lights into an outlet and, once connected, you can choose from millions of colors or over 60 preset scene modes, as well as set timers and schedules. Each light strip segment can have up to 15 different colors at a time, opening up even more room for creativity. One fun feature of this light is its music modes, which uses a built-in mic to sync the lighting to pulse to the rhythm, truly taking decorative lighting into a new level of party mode.
- Power source: Power cord
- Brightness: 150 lumens
- Hub required: No
- Excellent customizable color options, with the ability to set different colors across the light strip
- 60 preset scene modes are perfect for holiday lighting
- Music modes sync the lighting to bounce along with the rhythm
- Power adapter is not waterproof and should be installed in a covered area
Get the Govee Wi-Fi smart outdoor lights at Amazon or Govee.
Outdoor smart bulbs can turn any “dumb” fixture smart thanks to built-in smart capabilities. This LED PAR38 floodlight smart bulb from GE is weather-resistant, so it can be used in almost all light fixtures. Plus, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, so it can connect right to the internet or a smartphone without a hub. Unlike the budget smart bulb on our list, the GE Cync bulb can change color, opening up practical and decorative possibilities.
Through the app, you can choose from millions of colors or a range of white tones to find the perfect lighting for the mood. It’s also possible to set scenes, schedules, and timers. This wireless light bulb is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control as well.
- Power source: Light socket
- Brightness: 1300 lumens
- Hub required: No
- Excellent functional and decorative lighting; lots of color options
- Very bright at 1300 lumens; suitable for security lighting
- Option to set custom schedules for each day of the week
- Some users report spotty connection to Wi-Fi
Get the GE smart outdoor lights at Amazon (2-pack), Lowe’s, Best Buy, or Target.
What to Consider When Choosing a Smart Outdoor Light
Smart outdoor lighting is so convenient, and best of all, it’s becoming more and more affordable. There are so many options nowadays with smart outdoor light bulbs, switches, and fixtures, almost all using energy-saving LED bulbs. This variety opens up a range of uses, including exterior LED lighting for safety and security or just to set the ambience for an outdoor party. There are a few features to consider when choosing a smart outdoor light, including brightness, connectivity and compatibility with other smart devices, ease of installation, water resistance, and additional lighting features.
Smart LED outside lights come with a range of adjustable features such as the ability to change the lighting brightness, tone, and color. While these features are fun, brightness is an important one for practicality and safety. Smart outdoor lights share a lumen rating, which is a measure of the light’s brightness. Lumens can be reported as a range or the maximum lumen rating for dimmable lights. It’s important to find a light that’s bright enough for the intended use.
For accent lighting, a dim light is usually preferable, whereas for security or safety lighting, the light needs to be bright enough to do its job. For step lights, up to 100 lumens is often enough. Path lights should be a bit brighter—between 100 and 200 lumens. Landscape lights can be between 50 to 300 lumens, depending on preference. For security and flood lights, look for lights that offer over 700 lumens.
Connectivity and Compatibility
Smart outdoor lights are controllable through an app on a smartphone or tablet, a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or a smart display. Some require a hub to connect to a Wi-Fi network, while others can connect directly.
Other common connectivity options include Zigbee or Z-Wave and Bluetooth. Zigbee and Z-Wave are types of wireless network technologies, and these devices require a hub to connect to the home Wi-Fi network. Bluetooth is an older, familiar technology. A Bluetooth light bulb usually only allows users to control lights from a certain range (unlike the WiFi-enabled options, which allow for complete remote control). There are some Bluetooth mesh options that allow for remote control away from home.
For homes with an existing smart-home system, consider compatibility with smart hubs and voice assistants. Smart outdoor lights are often compatible with a range of voice assistants, which can include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and Microsoft Cortana.
Ease of Installation
Ease of installation depends on the complexity of the light and/or lighting system. All of the same installation concerns for regular outdoor lights apply—for example, how the light itself is installed (mounting patio lights onto the wall is more difficult than pushing a path light stake into the ground) and where power outlets are located.
Outdoor smart light bulbs are amongst the simplest to install. Essentially a remote-control light bulb, they just screw into an existing outdoor lighting feature and turn these “dumb” fixtures smart. To illuminate hard-to-reach spots in the backyard, consider solar outdoor lights, which won’t require an outlet. In big backyards, also keep range in mind; the light will need to be within range of Wi-Fi or its hub to take advantage of smart features.
Setting up smart features is less of a concern and shouldn’t deter new users—these outdoor smart lights are designed to be hassle-free to connect to devices. The top brands have made setup accessible for anyone who has a little know-how on navigating their smartphone. If there’s any trouble, video tutorials and customer service lines can help.
Safety is important when considering smart outdoor lighting. Electricity and water are an unsafe combination, so water resistance is a crucial aspect to consider. Location matters: Consider if the intended light location is exposed to full or partial moisture or dampness.
In areas with full exposure, look for weatherproof or waterproof options. However, even for covered areas like a front porch, it’s still possible for the light to be exposed to moisture (whether from a serious rainstorm or just dampness from being outdoors). In these situations, still opt for an outdoor bulb or fixture that is water-resistant or labeled as suitable for wet or damp locations.
All smart LED outdoor lights can connect to a smartphone for basic controls, like turning the light on and off. Some go a step beyond, offering the ability to change the light brightness, temperature, and color. Even further, some have the option to set schedules, timers, and group lights together. Almost all are compatible with at least one voice assistant to enable voice controls.
Smart outdoor lights can also integrate into other smart systems, especially if they are part of the same brand, like Ring’s smart lights and security cameras. This gives you the ability to integrate lighting, doorbell cameras, security cameras, and other devices together. This allows you to set routines, like turning on all the porch lights when the doorbell rings.
Easy to install and with plenty of affordable options, smart lights are an easy way to dip your toe into the world of smart tech. Whether you choose the best smart light switch or a smart light fixture, it’s worth the upgrade. Smart outdoor lighting brings these benefits outdoors, lighting up pathways and backyards and giving you control at your fingertips. Still wondering if smart outdoor lights are a good choice for your space? We answer some frequently asked questions below.
Q. Are smart lights worth the money?
Yes! If you’re looking for more lighting flexibility, smart lights are worth the money. They really put control in your hands, offering the ability to remotely switch lights on and off; change brightness, temperature, and color; set schedules and timers; and more. Smart lights aren’t all that expensive anymore either. There are smart light bulb options that are under $15 each—a small price to pay for such convenient features.
Q. Can you put smart lights outdoors?
Yes, there are plenty of smart light options that can be placed outdoors, from motion-sensing security lights to decorative string lights. Just make sure the lights are designed for outdoor use to keep everyone safe.
Q. Is it OK to use indoor lights outside?
No, it’s best not to use indoor lights outdoors. Outdoor lights are designed to withstand the elements and are weatherproof or water-resistant to make sure they operate safely. Indoor smart lights aren’t designed for the outdoors and can be a hazard—it’s not worth the risk!
Q. What are smart outdoor lights?
Smart outdoor lights are smart lights that are suitable for the outdoors. “Smart” refers to their ability to connect to a smartphone and other smart devices via a wireless connection. This gives you the ability to turn lights on and off and control features remotely.
Why Trust Bob Vila
As the host of groundbreaking TV shows like “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” Bob Vila earned a reputation as a trusted source for home improvement. Known for his DIY spirit, he spent decades distilling professional home knowledge into accessible advice. The Bob Vila team continues to share expert knowledge on all things home. Jasmine Harding has a passion for the spaces where home products and technology intersect. She has been writing about home tech since 2020. She dove into each product’s specifications, perused shopper and third-party reviews, and drew from her own experience with smart lighting to write this guide.